Sri Lanka withdraws visas on arrival

Daily Mirror's cartoon Friday May 27, 2011 Sri Lanka on Thursday withdrew the on-arrival free visa facility for Indian tourists. Although potential visitors from 78 other countries will also be impacted by the decision announced this week, t he majority of tourists to the island are Indians. Over 120,000 visited last year, up from 85,000 in 2009. See the Hindustan Times’ report here . The move comes amid growing hostility to India, and Indians, amongst Sinhala society. Amid barely-disguised resentment over India's refusal to support Sri Lanka against international demands for an investigation...

One farce too many

Sri Lanka's announcement of the appointment of yet another commission to investigate human rights abuses should come as no surprise. Following the release of report by the UN expert panel, calls for an international, independent inquiry into the final stages of the conflict are gaining momentum on a global level. This new commission, like its predecessors, including the infamously impotent Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) is a farce. Its announcement is a insolent retort at the UN report and all those advocating accountability, as well as another of Sri Lanka's habitual ploys to buy time for international attention to fade.

Child rape impunity no bar to UN peacekeeping deal with Sri Lanka

The United Nations has signed a ‘routine’ agreement with Sri Lanka so that resources can be accessed when needed for peacekeeping. This is despite 20% of a Sri Lankan peacekeeping force in Haiti being sent back in 2007 after UN investigations confirmed reports of sexual exploitation of children, and there having been no prosecutions against the soldiers once repatriated. “[This] was a routine agreement, which the UN has already signed with 89 other member states," Martin Nesirky, the UN spokesman, told a news briefing. "It is meant to speed up the provision of resources to the UN when...

Military to produce 'positive attitudes' in university students

Sri Lanka on Monday began compulsory military-led training for thousands of university entrants, despite a Supreme Court stay, and protests by opposition-backed student unions that called it the government’s latest move to militarise the country. See reports by Reuters and AFP . President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government has ordered 22,000 university entrants to attend what it calls “ leadership and positive-thinking training ” for three weeks at 28 military camps islandwide. (See our earlier post here on Sri Lanka's mono-ethnic military.) The first 12,000 began on Monday, despite Sri Lanka's...

Mere words

At the conclusion of the visit to Delhi this week by Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister G. L. Peiris, the two governments issued a joint statement which set out a range of bilateral policy. However, no sooner had Peiris returned to Colombo, Sri Lankan officials were backpedaling from any commitments he may have given. “Only discussions were held and no agreements signed though there are reports to the contrary,” the Daily Mirror quoted officials as saying in its front page story. Interestingly, although Peiris’ visit to Delhi was widely understood to be about the recently released UN...

Britain's duty

“The British government’s delay in seeking international justice for victims of genocide must be a matter of continuing shame for our country. “We as British citizens demand that the British government lives up to its international obligations, that it recognizes formally that genocide has occurred in Sri Lanka and it moves the UN Security Council, the Human Rights Council and General Assembly for an international investigation. “I know that the entire British people stand with us in this demand. Because it is consistent with fairness and the rule of law, both of which are deeply held British...

Time and resolve

"Today, two years on, our nation once again stands united to remember. Not just amongst us here in London, but we stand united with Eelam Tamils in every major city, throughout the world, and with every mind of every Tamil who continues to live oppressed in our homeland. We will never forget those horrors that passed. "So on this day every year, we recall that at our nation’s bleakest moment, we came together. In the face of unimaginable destruction, we stood united. " Time may have numbed the raw pain, but it has only strengthened our resolve. Today, we renew that resolve. We renew our...

Why an international independent investigation

"The UN Panel of experts has reported that there is credible evidence to institute an inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the conduct of the war in Sri Lanka. However, the UN continues with its inaction by calling on the very same murderous Sri Lankan regime to investigate its own murder. "The Tamil people have no faith in the Sri Lankan judiciary or any other Sri Lankan state appointed mechanism to conduct an independent investigation to bring the war criminals to account. We demand an International Independent Investigation into the crimes committed against our...

India urges Sri Lankan rights probe

India on Tuesday urged Sri Lanka to probe human rights abuses, implicitly endorsing the UN expert panel’s report, which made allegations of war crimes committed in the last stages of the war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers. In a break with tradition, and despite refraining from joining international endorsements of the UN report, India "urged the expeditious implementation of measures by the government of Sri Lanka, including... investigations into allegations of human rights violations," a statement said.

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